A group of Dharamshala hoteliers met chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and told him that the recent closure of hotels had adversely affected the tourism sector in the region, a delegation member said on Monday.
The hotel and restaurant association members, led by President Ashwani Bamba and Honourary Secretary Sanjeev Gandhi, met the CM here on Saturday.
Stating that there is negligible scope for increasing the extent of land for tourism infrastructure, the delegation members told the CM that the state should amend the existing Floor Area Ratio (FAR) rule from 150 per cent to 300 per cent and increase the vertical expansion limit to 21 metres irrespective of location.
As per the new hotel policy of the state, the vertical limit for expansion of commercial buildings is set at 21 metres but these structures must be connected to 5-metre roads. Structures connected to 3-metre wide roads have a limit of 15 metres.
Further, the delegation demanded that attic roofs be allowed for commercial use. Staff cafeteria, staff quarters, guest drivers’ accommodation and recreation area should not be included in FAR, said Gandhi.
They urged the CM to increase the building deviation compounding limit from 10 per cent to 40 per cent. The association said the Dharamshala New Development Plan must be made applicable to all existing hotel buildings.
Later, Gandhi described the meeting as ‘fruitful’ as the CM is believed to have promised to address some of the issues.
Gandhi added, “Due to the closure of around 170 hotels in the area, around 3,500 hotel employees are jobless. Potential tourists are hesitant to visit Dharamshala and they are choosing other states and foreign countries”.
According to the hoteliers association, tourist inflow has reduced by 30 per cent this season. Gandhi said sufficient parking space must be created in the tourist area.
Earlier in July, members of the hotel association had called upon Urban Development and Town and Country Development Minister Sarveen Choudhary in Dharamshala and told her about the ‘crisis’ in the tourism industry.